From the desk of Kevin Triplett
The 2017 Bay Cities Racing Association (BCRA) Hall of Fame inductions were held at the July 15 Jack London bash picnic held at Behrens Park on the Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds. The inductees or their families received a plaque and a lapel pin that denotes this high honor. The author’s biographies of the four 2017 inductees follow in alphabetical order.
Jim Abreu wanted to get involved in automobile racing, so in 1949 he approached San Jose Speedway promoter (and former BCRA business manager) Robert Barkheimer for a job as a photographer. Although Jim was only 18 years of age (back in those days a person had to be 21 to enter the pits), Barkheimer hired the young Abreu to shoot “head shot” photographs of the drivers for use in newspaper articles promoting and reporting on races at San Jose.
Abreu leveraged that access the following year to get credentialed access into the BCRA indoor midget races held inside the Oakland Exposition Building. Jim Abreu continued to photograph BCRA drivers and racing action during the glory years of nineteen sixties and seventies, and only stopped photographing races a few years ago due to his sciatica. Jim still maintains his archive of treasured historical photographs and his photos have been reproduced in several racing history books. Through the years, Jim worked closely with teams in the BCRA midget lites division providing them with photographs for sponsor and promotional use. Jim Abreu is truly a friend of the Bay Cities Racing Association.
Doug’s introduction to Bay Area sports fans came as a star lineman on the Sir Francis Drake High School football team in San Anselmo. Doug started his racing career as half-owner of a race car at Vallejo Speedway, and he has been a stalwart BCRA car owner for over twenty years. Doug was the owner of the #26 midget that fellow BCRA hall of fame member Glenn Carson drove to capture his third BCRA championship in 2000.
John Sarale, inducted into the BCRA Hall of Fame last year also drove for Doug who in recent years fielded cars for such rising stars as Justin Grant, Thomas Meseraull, Shane and Dustin Golobic and Taylor Simas. Doug’s grandson, Britton carries on the family name in racing and was in action at Petaluma Speedway for the Jack London races in both a winged sprint car and a midget.
In talking to Dick about his induction, he told that author that “he ran in a great era of Bay Cities Racing Association with many great drivers.” It is hard to argue with Dick’s statement, as the list of drivers that he raced with include champions and hall of famers Norm Rapp, Billy Vukovich, Johnny Baldwin, Dick Atkins, Dave Strickland, George Benson and Burt Foland just to name a few.
Dick started to work for Norm Rapp’s racing supply business during 1959 and for a few years could warm up Norm’s midget before races. Dick made his BCRA midget racing debut during the 1962 season at Sacramento’s Hughes Stadium behind the wheel of Richard Walsh’s rail frame midget.
For the 1963 season Geide partnered with Paul Sechini and they purchased Lloyd Ridge’s Kurtis-Kraft midget powered by a Ford V8-60 engine. In 1964 the pair finished fifteenth in BCRA points and the little Kurtis was the top-scoring Ford powered car.
For 1965 Geide and Sechini bought Porter Goff’s “Easter egg” Quinn Epperly built Offenhauser powered midget and finished sixth in the points behind two-time champion Dick Atkins. Geide improved to fourth in points at the end of the 1966 BCRA season behind champion Billy Vukovich before the car was sold. During that time that he drove the Offy, Dick set new one- and three-lap records at Santa Maria Speedway and a new three-lap standard indoors at Oakland.
In 1967 Dick served as the BCRA president and drove for Karl Hokanson at the indoor races and Frank Fiore for the outdoor season. In 1967 Dick captured at least two semi-main victories indoors. In 1968, Dick won the semi-main in the 100-lap United States Auto Club national midget race at San Jose Speedway driving a Ford Falcon powered roadster midget. Billy Vukovich won the feature that day trailed by George Benson and Mel Kenyon.
In recent years, racing historians and racing fans in general have enjoyed Dick’s sharing of his scrapbook book photos and memories on the BCRA fan site on Facebook.
Marietta Nichols’ life was always about family and racing. Her father, BCRA Hall of Fame member Art Shanoian bought his first race car the year Marietta was born, so many of her childhood memories revolved around racing, particularly at Calistoga Speedway. Later when Art bought his first midget race car, which began the family’s seven decades of involvement with our club, Marietta was a crew member.
Marietta met her husband, hall of famer Ken Nichols the 1973 BCRA champion at that year’s banquet, and her son, Jimmy Screeton also a hall of fame member drove for his grandfather Art beginning in 1983. Her youngest son, Chad also began his BCRA career in the nineteen nineties driving for Art and continues to be a fierce competitor in the orange #17 midget.
Marietta was passionate and involved in the sport of midget auto racing and supported her family and the club in any way she could whether it was buying and maintaining equipment, reserving travel, driving trucks and trailers, or nursing their injuries after accidents.
Marietta encouraged her father, husband and sons – she sponsored them, scored them in races, and occasionally provided constructive criticism of their driving. Marietta was the heartbeat of a family that has raced with BCRA for seven decades and scored 116 main event wins (and counting). BCRA was honored to have Marietta’s family on hand to celebrate the induction of this great friend of the BCRA into the Hall of Fame.